Four UTSOA Degree Programs Now STEM Designated

April 10, 2020
The School of Architecture's Master of Advanced Architectural Design, Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Urban Design, and Master of Science in Sustainable Design are all classified as STEM-related disciplines.
Two students seen from behind watching the KUKA robotic arm in action

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has recently approved changes to the Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) codes for a number of School of Architecture degree programs – MAAD, M Arch I, MSUD, and MSSD – effective September 1, 2020. Each of these degree programs are now classified as STEM-related disciplines by the U.S. government, which opens up new research and funding opportunities, and has important implications for our international students, post-graduation.

For our Master of Architecture First Professional and Master of Advanced Architectural Design degree programs, this designation better aligns with our school’s strengths in advanced building technologies, construction methods, building assemblies and digital tools, as well as our environmental stewardship efforts. Being recognized as a STEM-discipline will allow architecture faculty to pursue new funding opportunities, and will strengthen the potential of developing interdisciplinary collaborations in which architecture faculty play a leading role.

The CIP code change for the Master of Science in Sustainable Design from “Environmental Design / Architecture” to “Sustainable Studies” better reflects the fact that most MSSD student work is more research-based and less directly related to architecture or design. The Sustainable Studies designation offers additional freedom to innovate in the program’s core curriculum courses, as well as with individual student work.

For our Masters of Science in Urban Design program, the new STEM designation plays a key role in providing MSUD students the opportunity to pursue professional training after they’ve gained their academic base of knowledge at UTSOA. Achieving expertise in the field is typically comprised of a combination of academic preparation and professional internship, up to 8 years total – and this designation opens doors for urban design students to receive a substantial period of professional training post-graduation.

Thank you to Program Directors Dean Almy, Matt Fajkus, and Ulrich Dangel for your work on these applications, and to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Cisco Gomes, Senior Academic Program Coordinator Tomi Yamamoto and Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Michelle Broadway for shepherding these applications through this process.